The Royal Family have been accused of making a "predictable mistake" by leaving Meghan Markle and Archie out of their photo tributes to Prince Philip.
In the wake of the Duke of Edinburgh's death last week, official social media accounts for the royals have been releasing a steady stream of previously unseen images of Philip posing with various combinations of relatives.
But one particular post has drawn the attention of Daniela Elser, an Australian author and columnist who has covered the Crown for years.
The post included a 2015 shot of the Queen and Philip with Prince William, Kate Middleton and two of their children, and a group photo from 2018 showing the Queen, Philip and their then seven great-children.
Both were shared by William and Kate, while the latter was shared on the Royal Family's official Instagram page.
Meghan hadn't even met Harry when the 2015 photo was taken, and Archie had not been born by the time of the 2018 family portrait.
But Elser says the decision to use these photos, rather than any more recent snaps featuring the Sussexes, was a serious misstep that will only reopen wounds and cause more drama.
"The conspicuous omission of the Los Angeles-born Duchess was always going to stand out like the wrong tartan on Hogmanay and will most likely be received just as well by her global army of supporters," she writes for news.com.au.
She argues it would have been a wiser move to include an "out-take" from the day a newborn Archie was photographed with his parents, Meghan's mum Doria Ragland, the Queen and Philip.
It's unlikely there are a huge number of other photos of Archie with Philip, as the tot hasn't been in the UK since March 2020 and didn't see Philip at all during the last year of the Duke's life.
But Elser says the royals should have predicted the bad optics of the post and gone to any lengths to avoid it.
"What I cannot, for the life of me, understand is why Buckingham Palace didn't foresee this incident furore and find a shot of the Sussex family to include," she said.
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"Heck, they could even have made some poor Eton student on work experience learn how to use Photoshop to plonk the Duchess and Archie into some stilted snap taken at Balmoral.
"Anything just to make sure the royal house couldn't be accused of cutting both Meghan and Archie, quite literally, out of the picture."
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It's particularly bad timing with Harry back in the UK for the first time in a year, coming face-to-face with the relatives he and Meghan accused of racism and neglect just last month.
Elser said the photo blunder shows a "yawning disconnect between (the Queen's) carefully prepared words and the actions of the palace machine".
She refers to social media-driven movements like #Metoo and Black Lives Matter as evidence of a "global, societal re-evaluation" for which Buckingham Palace seems woefully ill-prepared.
Elser concludes: "What is absolutely befuddling is that for an institution who can take their pick of the world's best strategists, communications specialists and PR whiz kids they keep making such predictable, easy mistakes."
Buckingham Palace has been approached for comment.
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